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Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

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The Trick I Learned from Professor Harold Bloom

October 26th, 2019 by dk

Professor Harold Bloom taught me a trick that I’ve used almost every day for 30 years. Those who have been affected by Dr. Bloom’s brilliance probably number in the millions, though many of them may not know his name. His death last week leaves many fields of knowledge suddenly less fertile.

Bloom offered a senior seminar at Yale. The course was different every year. His mind moved so quickly and relentlessly, each term offered only a broad rubric of what might be discussed. Our topic was “Originality.” We read and thought together about Jesus and Shakespeare and Freud — a broad scope of work for undergraduates.

Bloom was working out a concept in front of us. He had wanted to call it “facticity” — until he learned that the word’s German transliteration was already being used to express a different concept altogether. So we threw quotes around the discarded term and continued apace.

“Facticity” posited that there are certain facts or truths or concepts that cannot be held or questioned from a particular point of view. An example from the first day of class: You cannot hate your parents so much that you wish they had never met, because that ideation would undermine your standing as the hater. If they hadn’t done that (met), you wouldn’t be here to react (hate).

We likened it to Wile E. Coyote sawing off the limb to catch Road Runner, but the tree falls over instead of the branch. That’s “facticity” in action. The concept’s corollary is this: If you assume you’ve questioned every assumption, you haven’t. There are, in fact — or in “facticity” — always some assumptions you cannot question without your tree falling on you, while the limb levitates beside it.

Bloom’s stature and scholarship were such that he didn’t have to teach undergraduates at all, but he loved to watch their minds bend when they were still nimble enough to do so. Whatever topic he was addressing, he was always teaching his students — and his readers, and his fans — how to think. He considered it his obligation to never stop.

He wrote dozens of books, but if you count those he edited and anthologies he compiled with commentary, the number swells past 600. His seminal book, “The Western Canon” is necessarily incomplete because it failed to include one book that has defined the Western canon — his own, defining it.

Do you see the trick? By twisting the train of logic, you can find where the track crosses itself. The twist reveals new angles, making the analysis both less real and more true at the same time. Our limits can humble us, even as they empower us.

I imagine that Professor Bloom would have gleefully accepted that the concept of an afterlife grew out of humanity’s innate urge to define a place where everything we knew as life seems less lively. He might have quibbled only over whether the afterlife is a human invention or a human discovery. It’s certainly profoundly human, as he was for every day of his 89 years.

If he’s in that place today, I’m happy for him and not surprised.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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Fresh Eyes See Eugene’s Future

October 25th, 2019 by dk

Sarah Medary has been Eugene’s acting city manager for less than a week, but she’s no stranger to Eugene. She has worked her entire career for the city of Eugene, after graduating from the University of Oregon. She knows every spigot in every public park, because making that inventory was her first assignment. Short of being born here, she’s as home grown as anyone.

So it’s significant that she’s promised to view her role here with fresh eyes, as if she’s just arrived from Boise and seeing Eugene for the first time. (Note that she isn’t trying to view things as if she’s just arrived from Texas, where she grew up. That might be a stretch, even for the most elastic mind.)

Her “fresh eyes” approach should expose some overlooked assumptions that may have unconsciously limited the city’s ability to solve some of its most intractable problems. The city needs this “clean sheet of paper” exercise. Erase all the white boards that now-retired City Manager Jon Ruiz had installed across the city’s offices, and start over.

I know an attorney who has a ritual she follows whenever there’s a new court case to be argued on her client’s behalf. She buys a new set of highlight markers to break down the arguments being made in the legal briefs. Her system is always the same. Never start with worn-out markers. This is like that. Medary wants to enjoy that “new job smell.” All city employees should do the same.

What might a new hired gun who just swooped in from Idaho see?

Fresh eyes might question how the city coordinates with its rich mosaic of nonprofit organizations. Is it more haphazard than we’d like? The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce does an admirable job of representing and coordinating local business interests. We may need a Chamber of Culture and a Chamber of Caring to do the same for the arts and social services.

Downtown Eugene has transformed itself over the decade since Ruiz arrived. The chain-link fences and pits are gone, replaced by a wide range of businesses that are thriving and growing. Do the city’s rules and fees fit a downtown that’s playing offense now, or have we gotten stuck in that defensive posture that was necessary for decades?

Springfield’s downtown is undergoing a similar renaissance. How can Eugene help its closest and largest neighbor — sharing our experience, expertise, and enthusiasm? They are also remaking their administrative leadership. What opportunities come with TWO clean sheets of paper?

Other towns in the “greater Eugene metropolitan area” may have needs that aren’t being met straightforwardly, because those needs have only recently emerged. As Mayor Lucy Vinis pointed out at Ruiz’s retirement party, Eugene has just recently grown from a large town to a small city. Expectations and capabilities change with that transformation.

The University of Oregon barely resembles the school it was in 2008. Driving down Franklin Boulevard is like watching a five-story chrysalis unfold before our eyes. Our community was built to crawl, but we’re being given the ability to fly.

Fresh eyes will see that.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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Who Are the Kurds?

October 24th, 2019 by dk

Few are defending President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. We are abandoning the Kurds, who have shouldered the greatest burdens in this long-term conflict. But blood is thicker than artillery lines, so we heard this week from the president’s daughter-in-law.

Lara Trump, a senior campaign adviser, offered this defense to Fox News host Shannon Bream this week: “I think we should start with the fact that if you ask the average American out there, I think they would have to Google ‘Who are the Kurds?’”

It’s true that most Americans couldn’t locate the Kurds’ homeland on a map, but that’s because it doesn’t exist. The Kurds represent the world’s largest ethnic group without a nation to call their own. They are a stateless nation of possibly 40 million people. Kurds represent sizable — and sometimes troublesome — minorities in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and western Russia. They are known as fierce fighters, by those who know them.

It’s also true that most Americans don’t know very much about the Kurds. It’s less true for long-time readers of The Register-Guard. I traveled to Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq, and this newspaper published my accounts every day for two weeks in 2008. Each dispatch offered a glimpse of everyday life among the Kurds who live there.

I sat with refugees and dignitaries, drinking strong tea and warm Fanta orange soda. I saw encampments where the only running water was the nearby stream, and fancy offices behind brightly colored doors. Everyone shared their stories generously, and I shared them with readers.

Najlaa, a medical technologist, told me her neighbors had given up eating fish, because human body parts were too often found inside when the fish are cleaned. “[War lords] throw bodies in the water, where they can’t be counted. Don’t blame the fish. They can’t tell the difference between a worm and a finger.”

Haider recounted trying to secure an exit visa for himself, his brother, and their family. “Every visit requires a full day,” he told me. “We must be there at 8, so we’re up at 7. We sit and we wait, often the whole day, until 5 or 6 at night. All day sitting. No food. My mom, she has to eat. She has to take medicine, but with food.”

Father Raymond Moussalli greeted a man who interrupted our visit. He was concerned that a widow’s brother-in-law had been killed, but the woman hadn’t yet been told that her missing husband was beheaded months earlier. Should she learn of both deaths at once? Unshaken, Moussalli finished our time on an upbeat note. “We’re having 23 First Communions this Sunday. You can see the children’s pictures on my door. They are apples on the tree. There’s always hope.”

For the last dozen years and more, Americans have offered Kurds hope for a better future. They will be looking to others for that hope now, but I can tell you with some certainty that they will not give up hope. It’s all they have.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard. All 19 of Kahle’s 2008 essays can be found at

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The Day Jon Ruiz Came to Eugene

October 24th, 2019 by dk

Eugene’s City Manager Jon Ruiz is retiring today. I remember the day he first came to town. The Eugene City Council chose 36 residents as a “citizen panel” to interview the three finalists for the job on Feb. 1, 2008. I was among them. A few days before the interviews, we were each asked to formulate a question that could be asked for each interview.

Group interviews are always strictly scripted, to make everything fair for all candidates. The questions are usually very predictable, and they have a cadence that doesn’t resemble the tone and tempo of real life.

I set out to disrupt that cadence. Here’s the question I offered: “You have three dozen citizens in the room with you this afternoon who know this town better than you. Choose one, at random. What’s the one question you’d most like to ask? After you ask that question, but before they answer it, tell us what you expect their answer might be.”

City staff initially rejected my question because it was “too weird,” but they listened to my reasoning. I wanted a question that had a different give-and-take rhythm. I wanted to measure not the candidate’s intelligence, but their demeanor — maybe even their character. Staff relented and my question was included.

I remember Ruiz chose the person closest to him. Ken Tollenaar was seated in the front row. He asked why there were so many potholes in the road coming into town. He didn’t know what Ken’s answer might be, which was why he asked the question. Ruiz described himself as a “public works guy,” but we saw a curious mind in action.

He nailed it — especially the last part. Anyone hoping to lead an organization with 1400 employees had better not assume they will always be the smartest person in the room. “I don’t know” was the correct answer, and Ruiz was the only candidate with enough humility and self-confidence to give it.

One candidate asked a question that was so simple that everyone would have known the answer, but it was asked to produce a feel-good moment for the answerer. The other asked a question that was designed to display some academic detail he had gleaned about Eugene — homework he had done in preparing for his interview.

One question was too easy. Another was too hard. Ruiz’s question was just right.

I wrote to a friend later that day this quick evaluation: “I think everyone in the room would agree we met one has-been, one rising star and one roll-of-the-dice. We’d all agree who was past his prime, but the room was split on who of the remaining two is a gamble and who is a rising star.”

City council chose Ruiz — a gamble to some. We watched his star rise together.

It’s good we had a diverse committee evaluating candidates, and it’s good that staff was willing to vary the style and content of questions asked. Also, it’s good there were potholes in the road from the airport. They served us well, as did Ruiz.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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SCOTUS Nerd Convention

October 24th, 2019 by dk

It happens at 1 First St. NE in Washington, DC, every first Monday in October. Or, rather, it happens outside that address, on the sidewalk. The start time is less formal, but it’s always Dark:30. Local conditions affect the actual start time.

Most years, arriving at 4:30 is early enough to be near the front of the line. This year was different, though nobody could explain exactly why. One friend flew in from Texas, coming straight to the sidewalk without stopping at his hotel. He arrived at 2:00 AM and warned us by text that a crowd had already gathered.

Another friend arrived at 3:45 AM, to find more than two dozen ahead of him. I showed up near the usual time, which wouldn’t have been early enough to gain entry at all, except for the kindness of strangers. We were all in line for the opening session of the Supreme Court, but only a few of us do this every year.

It’s a small nerd convention that meets outside before dawn every year, across the street from the U.S. Capitol building and three blocks from a Starbucks that’s open all night. Most come only once, because they happen to know somebody involved in the case being heard that day, or because their law school professor dared them to try it.

It’s not just anyone who will give up half a night’s sleep to watch judges and lawyers joust with each other for exactly 60 minutes, and that’s what makes it fun. The small-talk conversation you have in the line with strangers always develops into an interesting discussion. Those who pay less attention are home in bed, along with anyone sensible enough to know their presence will make no difference.

Some stand in line to receive their new iPhone. Others mark their calendar for opening day of their favorite baseball team. Being a fan of the Supreme Court is no different. We show up, understanding that the day’s outcome will be determined by nine chosen players — except for us, food and cheering are forbidden.

When you come every year, you notice what’s different and what’s the same. Chief Justice John Roberts decided to try something new this year. He promised the lead attorneys they would have two minutes to make their case, before the justices would begin peppering them with questions. It was awkward for everyone, but it made it a better show for those who hadn’t studied up.

The sidewalk experience was mostly the same. The crowd gets restive around 5:00 and festive around 6:00. (The sun rises slowly when you’re waiting for it.) Snacks get passed around by those who came over-prepared. Anyone with a badge or a uniform produces hopeful murmurs that our wait may be ending.

Then, every year around 7:30, they line us up and count us off — exactly like junior high school gym class. Then everyone scatters — breakfast, bathroom, selfies. Then there’s one more line to enter the courtroom, seated for a 10:00 start. For just a few of us, it marks the passing of another year.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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NCAA vs. Influencers

October 24th, 2019 by dk

Andy Warhol famously promised that one day in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. The pop artist never speculated how people would get paid for their momentary fame, but social media has seen to that. The National Collegiate Athletic Association doesn’t like it one bit.

California passed a law last week that will allow college athletes to profit from endorsements without losing their scholarship or endangering their so-called amateur status. The law won’t take effect until 2023, but high school athletes will be watching. A sea change may be about to break the dam that was erected by the NCAA.

For understandable reasons, the NCAA would like everything to stay the same. Coaches and conferences executives earn millions, while the players are allowed to receive virtually no remuneration for their athletic efforts — until or unless they turn pro.

We can argue whether it was ever appropriate for adults to profit off the efforts of so-called student-athletes, but the situation has recently become untenable for entirely different reasons. Celebrity is suddenly being monetized in new ways, most often in California.

Where did California Governor Gavin Newsom sign the Fair Pay to Play Act into law? On Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James’s TV show. The governor “stopped by” the set of HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted” with a pen and the unsigned bill in hand. That’s how they roll in California. Young people soon will be rolling the same way, from coast to coast.

The new law is limited to endorsement deals, so it shouldn’t impact television contracts or other deals that currently underwrite college athletics. That may or may not turn out to be true, but no one has examined closely this brand new branding strategy — the rising role of social media “influencers.”

The unexplored irony of the current situation revolves around this new dynamic. While the athletes on the field or court are not being paid, their roommates could be attending the games wearing shoes or shirts or hats provided by companies willing to pay them for the exposure their presence can provide.

As the rules are currently written, every college student is free to receive compensation from companies seeking endorsements from “influencers” on various social media platforms. Every college student, that is, except the athletes who have scholarships that forbid it.

We’ve heard the argument that most college athletes will never succeed as professional athletes, so the chances they will bring in huge endorsement contracts while still in school are remote. But that’s not how the world works anymore.

“Influencers” get small contracts from various companies for featuring their products in tweets or selfies or posts on Instagram or Facebook or TikTok. More followers make the products more popular. Payments get larger, leading to new contracts for related products, which earns them more followers.

A successful college athlete can easily amass thousands of followers very quickly on whichever social media platform they prefer. Why shouldn’t they be able to cash in on those proverbial 15 minutes of fame? For most of them, those are the only 15 minutes they’re going to get.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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Timeline Implicates Trump

October 24th, 2019 by dk

I use this space most often to prompt people to take a wider view. I ask readers to consider historical precedents or long-term consequences of immediate events. I tease out absurdities when a convenient thought pattern is pushed to the nth degree. I peek around corners that are otherwise obscured by logic. It’s called “exploding the frame.”

It’s honorable work on most days, and I count it a privilege to be able to do it. But today, let’s do the opposite. Forget the big picture. Examine the details that may have been overlooked instead. Ignore the forest and focus on a tree or two.

Since the whistleblower’s concerns first became known, Washington has been abuzz about President Donald Trump’s phone call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. What was said? What does it mean? Was it treason or statecraft? Trump, who willingly released the summary memo, called the conversation “perfect.”

All sides will not agree about what was said and why. But “when” is not in dispute. The call began at 9:03 AM on Thursday, July 25, lasting approximately 30 minutes.

Zelensky was elected on April 21. He became Ukraine’s president on May 20. Yet Trump’s congratulatory phone call came on July 25. Why the delay of two or three months before congratulating a neophyte head of state — especially when his story is oddly similar to Trump’s own? It bears some explaining.

Democrats have argued that Trump wanted first to withhold some much-needed foreign aid, casting Zelensky as supplicant to the United States. That may have been part of the motivation behind Trump’s timing, but Democrats should have learned from the Mueller report that Americans need a simpler story line.

A more compelling case can be made by noting what was on Trump’s mind the morning of the phone call. It’s not hard to imagine, because Trump’s Twitter feed offers a direct view into his mind. He was thinking about what Fox & Friends — and everyone else in America — was talking about that morning.

The news cycle was completely dominated by Robert Mueller’s halting and hesitant public testimony the previous afternoon. One quote from Mueller captures it well: “The president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed.”

After two years of intrigue, and a two-volume report that very few people read, the head of the appointed special counsel gave his public testimony for all Americans to see. For those who hadn’t read the book, the movie had just come out. And the reviews were not good.

Mark Levin was the final guest on Fox & Friends — “a great guy,” according to Trump’s tweet at 7:39 AM. Levin speculated whether Mueller’s heretofore hidden dementia had been on full display.

Mueller’s testimony ended any possibility that Trump would face any consequence — exculpated or not — for inviting Russia’s help in his 2016 election. And what’s the first thing he does from the Oval Office after that news has sunk in? He calls another head of state and asks for help in his 2020 election. That may be all Americans need to know — just that, right there.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at Every Trump tweet has been archived at

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Baton Passes from Doha to Eugene

October 24th, 2019 by dk

All eyes in the world of track competition will be on Doha, Qatar this weekend, as the planet’s premiere athletes complete the IAAF’s 17th World Athletic Championships. And then those eyes will turn to Eugene, where the competition — including many of the same competitors — will take place in 2021.

Phil Knight, Nike and Eugene shocked the world on April 16, 2015, when we were chosen to host the 18th World Athletic Championships. The event has never been hosted on American soil before. It will be the world’s largest sporting event of the year, attracting athletes, fans and journalists from 214 countries.

Preparations began immediately. An experienced executive was hired to guide those preparations. Committees were formed to explore any anticipated deficiencies — housing, transportation, infrastructure, public safety. Money is being raised to pay for necessary improvements.

Entrepreneurs are investing millions in new hotels and amenities for visitors. Hayward Field is being rebuilt to become the epicenter of a worldwide stage.

After Doha concludes on Sunday, thousands will turn their focus to Oregon21 in Eugene, Oregon. Athletes will huddle with their coaches and trainers to make a plan to become stronger, faster and more flexible. Media companies will begin forming teams to cover the event. And hundreds of local leaders will be enlisted to become great hosts.

Invitations have been sent to civic leaders to hear Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s vision for the event and our preparations. They will meet next Thursday morning.

You can already see the efforts taking shape. Many of the traffic snarls we endured this summer are part of the preparations, as buildings and roads increase capacity. Those efforts will intensify and so will some of the related frustrations. The governor and many others will be coming to town periodically to remind us that it will all be worth it.

Personally, I’m focusing on the immediate benefits we are seeing already. New buildings gleam in the autumn afternoon sun. Muralists are enhancing our older buildings, while construction cranes swivel in the sky to assemble more. Thousands of giant sequoias are being planted in our parks and along roadways. It’s worth reflecting how those trees will someday tower over and eventually outlast the buildings.

The craziness will last only a couple of weeks two summers from now. We’re expecting 50,000 fans to descend on us, ready to watch their favorite competitors from around the world. Thousands of athletes, coaches and journalists will experience Hayward Field magic for the first time. And then they’ll all leave.

But they’ll all take something with them — impressions, memories, pictures.

Literally billions of hours of video will be shot during those few days, from network broadcasts to personal selfies — all with Eugene as a backdrop. The goal is for every image transmitted to somehow capture the essence of Eugene in the background — every street corner, every restaurant meal, every unplanned errand.

Most of that will conclude on August 15, 2021. The competition will wrap up and attention will then shift to Budapest, Hungary, host of the 19th World Athletic Championships. But those images will endure, along with the giant sequoias.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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Greta Refuses to Believe in Evil. She Should.

September 27th, 2019 by dk

Greta Thunberg dispensed with ceremonial niceties when she addressed this week’s United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York. Her message started with thunder. She came to rain on her elders’ parade. Here’s how she began:

“My message is that we’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!”

She upbraided world leaders for their tepid remedies to collapsing ecosystems and the beginning of a mass extinction, preferring fairy tales of unending economic prosperity and “Deus ex machina” tech solutions that will save the day. (I’ll have more to say about the Deus part in a moment.)

She recounted the scientific numbers that could spell our extinction. “There will not be any solutions or plans presented … here today, because… you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. … The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this.”

Speaking to hundreds of professional diplomats, Greta was purposefully undiplomatic. But there was a Rubicon she would not cross:

“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But … I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.”

Believe it, Greta. Our modern world order has developed a giant blind spot, because we cannot accept evil in our world and in our adversaries. Some of our most vexing problems defy solutions because we cannot acknowledge those who feel no shame and who delight in the suffering of others.

Every human can be redeemed, but we cannot redeem them. That has always required a deity or an afterlife or some cosmic source outside ourselves. Modern societies organize themselves with deity as an option, but not a requirement. We’ve over-learned the lessons from our past.

Magical thinking inhibits our problem-solving. Religions divide people. Our bloodiest crusades have been carried out in God’s name. We’ve used an afterlife to justify brutality in this one. Visualizing a God who loves us has excused us from loving one another and ourselves.

Our progress has hit a limit. God needn’t comfort the afflicted. Prosperity can handle that now. But our need for a cosmic force to respond to evil has not diminished. We can’t create heaven on earth without there being also a hell.

We haven’t built an effective societal response to evildoers, to bullies, to nihilistic narcissists. From schoolyard name-calling to world wars, we’ve made ourselves blind to people who enjoy hurting other people. Hoarding resources that others need is hateful and evil. Greta was right to say we may not be forgiven for our selfishness, because we’ve banished from our garden the only force that can.

It is not for us to forgive evil. Our job must be to fight it.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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Celebrate and Remember Annette Montero

September 27th, 2019 by dk

Annette Montero died a month ago yesterday. Her red sleeping bag had holes in it, spewing a trail of feathers wherever she went. Unable to get to her usual place, she slept in a downtown alley, near a Dumpster.

Annette Montero’s life ended when a garbage hauler was making his pre-dawn rounds. Even if he saw the ragged red sleeping bag on the pavement, why would he have guessed there might be a body inside it? Nobody should be sleeping in an alley beside a garbage container. We all agree about that.

Annette Montero was not having a good day when most people last saw her. She resisted attempts to put her feather-spewing bag inside another bag. She wouldn’t let her bicycle out of her sight. She cut in line at the Sunday Interfaith Breakfast, but others let it slide. We’ve all had bad days before.

Annette Montero’s day got worse. Her bicycle was probably stolen, just as she had feared. When a downtown guide told her she had to move along, she asked about renting a parking space for the night. If cars could stay safely overnight, why couldn’t she? There’s a haunting logic to what might have been her last request.

Annette Montero’s last meal was not the breakfast she ate alone in the basement at First Christian Church. She was visited later by a volunteer for Eugene’s Burrito Brigade. They feed the homeless every weekend, delivering burritos under bridges, on the riverbank, and in alleys.

Annette Montero danced with the volunteer who had brought her a burrito, captured on a nearby surveillance camera. It’s good to know there were at least those moments of impromptu joy in her final hours.

Annette Montero died from homelessness, although that’s not what’s officially recorded. Lane County doesn’t keep records of how many people die from living outside in harsh conditions. Or waiting too long to seek medical help. Or being unable to defend themselves while sleeping.

Annette Montero became a statistic one month ago, but she never stopped being a person. Her family will gather today at noon for a memorial service at First Christian Church, which was undoubtedly the last roof she saw over her head. You’re invited to join her brother and sister and daughter today to say good-bye, but also thank-you.

Annette Montero’s name must stay with us, so that each person sleeping without shelter in Eugene is never reduced to a statistic, an abstraction, a societal problem. Thomas Egan froze to death on December 18, 2008 and Eugene responded, “Never again.” Thomas Egan Warming Centers have been active on cold nights ever since.

Sunday Interfaith Breakfast has been serving a hot morning meal to the homeless every week since 2012. As they feed 300 people, volunteers learn their guests’ names, their stories, their individual histories. Those histories must be joined with ours now. We can say “Never again” by adding to the breakfast’s title the beautiful name of Annette Montero.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at Details for Annette Montero’s memorial service can be found at

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